RADHICA DE SILVA
Public transport anxieties have gripped women across the country, changing the way they commute ever since Andrea Bharatt boarded a PH car and ended up dead.
In the rural communities of Moruga, Tableland, Rio Claro, Mayaro and Guayaguayare, women say they are fearful of travelling alone.
Many said they no longer take the risk of entering strange taxis unless they had no choice.
Taxi driver Weston Marcano, who has been plying for hire between Princes Town and San Fernando, said it was the first time he has ever seen women so fearful of travelling.
“You can see how they feel based on their body language. I have regular passengers who depend on me for safe transport. I always advise people to travel with the drivers they know,” he said.
But Rio Claro passenger Carla Persad said this was not always possible.
“Sometimes you have to reach to work on time. In many parts of the countryside there are no taxis or buses working so we have to depend on PH cars,” she said.
Persad said as a precaution she always makes sure that she has data on her phone when travelling.
“I work in San Fernando so I take several taxis. I cannot afford to hire a car but what I do is make sure I have data on my phone so I periodically check-in when we reach certain areas just to let my people know that I am OK. I started doing this because of what happened with Andrea,” she revealed.
Rio Claro passenger Tumika Lindsay said she too has been checking in constantly with loved ones along the way.
Theresa Douglas. of Rio Claro. said she has stopped using taxis and PH cars since Bharatt’s murder.
Anna Granger, of Marac in Moruga, said the Public Service Transport Corporation should provide reliable transportation for commuters.
“My heart was broken because of what happened to Andrea. I am from a large family with mostly girls and that made me think a lot,” Granger said.
Rio Claro taxi driver Dane Jackson said he has been looking out for his female passengers, making sure they are comfortable along the way.